Posts Tagged ‘Crime’

Montana Wrestles With the First Amendment

May 25, 2017

Montana Wrestles With the First Amendment
In Montana on Wednesday, a reporter attacked Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte with dangerous questions about the deadly House healthcare bill, so the candidate responded by body-slamming the journalist to the ground and punching him. Knowing Montana, that should get the GOP hopeful a victory in today’s special election as well as a Gallatin County misdemeanor conviction.

After all, Montana voters already elected a dangerously impulsive rich guy who hates the media and press freedom to the White House, so adding another one to Congress should be a snap.

More:

“Fox News crew ‘watched in disbelief’ as Montana’s Greg Gianforte ‘slammed’ and ‘began punching’ reporter,” Fred Barbash, Washington Post

“Three Montana newspapers rescind Gianforte endorsements after alleged body-slamming incident,” Louis Nelson, Politico
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White Collar Crime Risk Zones

May 8, 2017

White Collar Crime Risk Zones

White Collar Crime Risk Zones uses machine learning to predict where financial crimes will happen across the U.S. The system was trained on incidents of financial malfeasance from 1964 to the present day, collected from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), a non-governmental organization that regulates financial firms.

The system uses industry-standard predictive policing methodologies, including Risk Terrain Modeling and geospatial feature predictors, which enables the tool to predict financial crime at the city-block-level with an accuracy of 90.12%.

Predictive policing apps are designed and deployed to target so-called “street” crime, reinforcing and accelerating destructive policing practices that disproportionately target impoverished communities of color.”

— White Collar Crime Risk Zones,” Sam Lavigne, Francis Tseng, and Brian Clifton, The New Inquiry

Use it online and read the white paper.

Related:

“Why big-data analysis of police activity is inherently biased,” William Isaac and Andi Dixon, The Conversation

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Bridgegate Conspirators on Off-Ramp to Prison

April 5, 2017

Bridgegate Conspirators on Off-Ramp to Prison
Two former allies of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie convicted in the Bridgegate caper were sentenced by Newark Federal Court Judge Susan Wigenton on Wednesday. Former Christie aide Bridget Anne Kelly will spend 18 months behind bars, and former Port Authority executive Bill Baroni will reside in prison for two years. The two Republicans will remain free on bail while they appeal their convictions. Donald Trump’s sister Maryanne is a New Jersey Federal Appeals Court judge, but she won’t be hearing the case.

In September 2013 members of the Christie Administration and Christie-appointed members of the New York Port Authority decided to punish Mayor Mark J. Sokolich of Fort Lee, a Democrat, for not supporting the governor’s re-election bid. They had George Washington Bridge access lanes in Fort Lee blocked, causing five days of massive traffic jams. Political fallout from this emerged in time to tank Christie’s presidential campaign and then push him out of the Trump transition team.

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Trump Pays $25 Million Over Phony University

November 21, 2016

Trump Pays $25 Million Over Phony University

On Friday, President-elect and litigious career con man Donald J. Trump, who prides himself on never settling lawsuits, agreed to a $25 million settlement over his fraudulent “Trump University.” You may not have noticed because Mr. Trump spent the weekend distracting the media with his theater criticism.

Donald Trump’s unlicensed “university” was a bait-and-switch scheme, offering free courses that were sales pitches for $1,000 courses, which were in turn sales pitches for $10,000 and $35,000 courses. It’s a wonder the President-elect wasn’t sued by the Church of Scientology for stealing its business model.

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‘Downton Abbey’ Ex-Congressman Indicted on 24 Counts

November 16, 2016

'Downton Abbey' Ex-Congressman Indicted on 24 Counts

A federal grand jury has indicted former Congressman Aaron Schock on 24 criminal counts that include theft of government funds, wire fraud, making false statements, and filing false tax returns. Once a Republican star, he used federal and campaign funds to support a lifestyle of personal trainers and personal photographers, a stylish wardrobe, charter plane and helicopter trips for Hawaiian surfing, tango-dancing in Bueno Aires, glacier jumping in Patagonia and a plush Downton Abbey-themed Capitol Hill office with a $5,000 chandelier.

The Washington Post ran a feature on the office, and questions were raised. Mr. Schock resigned from Congress during an ensuing ethics inquiry, but an FBI investigation followed, and the Bureau’s findings were sent to the grand jury which has now returned the indictments. Looks like media coverage of Aaron Schock will be resuming shortly. Hope he’s still got the wardrobe for it.

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Chris Christie: Unindicted Co-Conspirator?

November 10, 2016

Chris Christie: Unindicted Co-Conspirator?

With the conviction of two former aides in the “Bridgegate” trial last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been cast in an “unflattering light,” to quote the Wall Street Journal. The governor denies prior knowledge of the politically motivated plan that tied up traffic on the George Washington Bridge for four days, but the conviction of his former aides validates the existence of a conspiracy, and another aide took a plea deal. Gov. Christie cancelled weekend campaign appearances with GOP candidate Donald Trump after the verdict.

Governor Christie now heads President-elect Trump’s transition team. Maybe he’ll be named Secretary of Transportation since he knows so much about bridgesbuses, highways, rail transit, and tunnels.

More:

“After the Bridgegate Verdict, Chris Christie Comes Off As the Guiltiest of All,” Andrew Rice, New York Magazine

“Reminder: Trump Believes Own Transition Chairman Was Involved in Bridgegate, Which Is Now Officially a Felony Conspiracy,” Ben Mathis-Lilley, Slate

Update:

“Pence Replaces Christie as Head of Trump Transition Team,” Jennifer Jacobs, Bloomberg Politics

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Lochte Wins Olympic Gold In Frat Boy Moves

August 22, 2016

Lochte Wins Olympic Gold In Frat Boy Moves

Ryan Lochte, champion Olympic swimmer and America’s Sexiest Douchbag, is in the news, but not for winning his 12th Olympic medal in Rio. He went to a party at Rio’s Casa França with swim team pals Jimmy Feigen, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger and they got drunk. On their way back to the Olympic Village in the wee hours of August 14th, they had their cab driver stop at a gas station in Rio’s Barra da Tijuca neighborhood so they could take a pee. The restroom door was locked, but boys will be boys and nature abhors a full bladder, so they broke down the door and trashed a soap holder, a mirror, and a “Please Do Not Enter” sign. Two impatient athletes peed against a wall. In other words, just another boys night out for privileged American jocks.

But this didn’t go over so well in upscale Barra da Tijuca. An armed security guard appeared, and the drunken bros paid about $51 toward the damages before their taxi was allowed to pull away.

Ryan Lochte (“So Sexy, So Dumb“) had a short-lived reality TV show called What Would Ryan Lochte Do? In this case what he did was lie, as any spoiled frat boy would. When the teammates got back to the Olympic Village, they claimed they were robbed of $400 at gunpoint by crooks masquerading as police, and Ryan Lochte even told that lie to his mother.

This all fell apart when security video surfaced showing that the four had their wallets when they passed through metal detectors on their return to the athletes village. Surveillance footage from the gas station even showed them breaking down that door.

Swimmers Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz were pulled off a US-bound plane in Rio on August 17th and questioned by police. Teammate Jimmy Feigen was forced to pay $11,000 to a Brazilian charity before he was allowed to leave the country. And Ryan Lochte, in the true spirit of “I’m-a-celebrity-get-me-outta-here,” left Rio on August 16th, before any of that happened.

So after the 2016 Olympic Games observed their closing ceremonies, the people of Rio remember how America’s spoiled millionaire athletes trashed their city and its reputation and taxed its already overburdened justice system. And total bro Ryan Lochte went back to his 130 pairs of shoeship-hop-tropical-frat-boy wardrobe, and a T-shirt that says “I am Ryan Lochte. Google Me.” Only now when you Google “Ryan Lochte,” you’ll get the word “liar.” That’s one Lochte Olympic record that will never be broken.

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New York Plagued by Ice Cream Rustlers

August 16, 2016

New York Plagued by Ice Cream Rustlers
New York City was once known as “A Summer Festival” but this year, with Climate Change, the the Big Apple’s summer is big, hot, sweaty mess. And now there are ice cream thieves.

Shoplifting swarms have been emptying retail freezers at Manhattan CVS, Duane Reade, and Gristedes chain stores. Thieves steal the $6.00 containers of Häagen-Dazs, Ben and Jerry’s, and Talenti ice cream and sell them cheaply to corner stores, which retail them for $5.00.

Things are so bad this summer that John Catsimatidis, billionaire owner of the Gristedes grocery chain, is offering a $5,000 bounty for the arrest of ice cream rustlers. So get your posse together, ride them varmints down, and get the reward. Quick, before it melts.

More:

“Ice cream bandits are wreaking havoc on NYC supermarkets,” Reuven Fenton and Linda Massarella, New York Post

“So Maybe Don’t Buy Ice Cream At A Bodega,” Nell Casey,  Gothamist

Update:

“Stolen, Sold and Savored: Ice Cream Is a Hot Commodity in Manhattan,” Michael Wilson, New York Times

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Florida’s Big Business: Medicare Fraud

July 28, 2016

Florida's Big Business: Medicare Fraud

The U.S. Department of Justice nabbed three conspirators and accused them of defrauding taxpayers of $1 billion through nursing services and assisted-living facilities in the Miami-Dade area. “The magnitude of alleged false claims in this scheme is staggering and outrageous, even by South Florida healthcare fraud standards,” said U.S. attorney Wifredo Ferrer, alluding to the Sunshine State’s major industry, Medicare fraud. The three were charged with conspiracy, money laundering and health care fraud, and two were also charged with obstructing justice.

Thank Florida’s governor, Tea Party Republican Rick Scott, for the expansion of the medical fraud industry. The state is so dirty-business-friendly it has attracted foreign investors from Russia and Nigeria.

More:

“Justice Department Charges Three in $1 Billion Medicare Fraud Scheme in Florida,” Kate O’Keeffe, Wall Street Journal

Related:

“Medicare Fraud Is Sweetest Crime in South Florida,” Chris Parker, New Times Broward/Palm Beach

“What’s the matter with Florida? Healthcare fraud flourishes despite enforcement efforts,” Lisa Schencker, Modern Healthcare

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Who Moved My Cheese?

July 12, 2016

food cheese wedge

Thieves stole 20,000 pounds of cheese from a truck parked at a business in Oak Creek Wisconsin last week.

“Police say the semi driver was transporting the load from Green Bay to the New York City area and unhitched the trailer to run an errand. When he returned, the trailer and $46,000 worth of cheese was gone.

It’s not the first such heist of the legacy commodity in a state where sports fans like to wear foam wedges on their heads. A semitrailer carrying $70,000 worth of cheese was stolen from Germantown, another Milwaukee suburb, in January.”

— “Thieves at large, with 20,000 pounds of cheese, in Wisconsin,” Chicago Tribune

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